As I mentioned in this post, we recently flew with both boys down to Florida to see my Grandy and it was quite the adventure. We hadn’t flown with Teddy since he was five months old (he’s now 20 months and Peter is 9 weeks) and let’s just say it was pretty different to fly with a busy toddler and a newborn. We definitely had a few takeaways from our first flight with two under two, so I wanted to share what worked well for us and what we’ll do differently next time for any of you in the same boat! And as always, would love to hear what’s worked well for you in the comments!

flying with two kids under two

tips for flying with two under two

1. Wear the infant. We use this carrier daily in our household and it’s perfect for flying too. Peter was honestly a dream on both flights and stayed in this carrier on my lap for the entirety of the flight home. 

2. Nurse or give a bottle on takeoff and landing to help little ones’ ears from popping. I nursed Peter on the flight down and fed him a bottle on the flight back. You can bring bottled milk in your carry-on, but be sure to allow a little extra time for the TSA to inspect the containers. It was a little harder to get Teddy to drink consistently through takeoff and landing but it was definitely worth trying for both of them.  

3. Book the toddler a separate seat. You technically don’t have to book a separate seat for kids under the age of 2, but let me just say that 20 months is close enough and it would have been a lot easier for us to wrangle Teddy in his own seat vs. on one of our laps the entire flight. 

4. Bring a car seat on board. The three times we’ve flown with a baby/babies, we’ve gate checked our Doona car seat/stroller combo, but I just learned that you can actually bring a car seat on board if you book your toddler his or her own seat, so we will definitely do that next time. I think we would have had a much easier time containing Teddy and possibly getting him to nap a bit if he were in a familiar car seat vs. expected to sit still in our laps. 

5. Don’t fly during nap time unless you have a stellar sleeper. I thought booking our first flight during Teddy’s normal afternoon nap was a great idea until it absolutely, positively, 1000% turned out to be a terrible one. The flight home in the evening (once he’d already napped in the afternoon) was much more successful, but I think next time we’ll try to fly in the morning and let him nap upon arrival to our destination if possible. We definitely learned the hard way that we’d rather bring out all the distractions (iPad, toy cars, etc.) to keep him awake and entertained than pull our hair out trying to get an overtired toddler to sleep. 

6. Take a deep breath and give yourself grace. Our fellow passengers were incredibly understanding about Teddy wanting to get up and explore and crying at various intervals throughout the first flight. In the end, we survived, got to where we were going, and learned a few things we can improve upon for next time!

Any tips and tricks you’ve learned for traveling with babies and toddlers? I’m all ears!

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  1. I just flew (without my husband 😭) with my 2 year old and 11 month old! I was really shocked that the flight attendant told me I had to take my baby carrier off during the flight — we have a similar one as you. I looked it up after and it technically is a FAA rule, but I’d never heard of it before! I’m not sure if it is always enforced or just because we were towards the front of the plane.

  2. You have to book a window seat with the baby car seat. After kids were 3 months always booked them both their own seat. Once strapped into their car seat, and flight took off they slept. I did always book the flight about an hour before nap time and they would both sleep. Mine were on pretty solid nap schedules. We did have a 3 hour time change. THE JOYS of figuring that out.

  3. Bringing car seats helps little ones with their comfort level, as well as containing them. Read up on placing them in the aisle seat before you fly. We have twins and have been told they can/they cannot place car seats on the aisle. Two patents can divide and conquer, but make sure you have the snacks and toys in two separate bags! I’m so glad you were all able to see your grandmother!

  4. Unusual treats for toddlers were our secret (ours did overseas flights to NZ and Hong Kong) plus many cross country flights. Head to Trader Joes (and the organic section of your local grocery) to find novel treats. Our kids were not always easier fliers but our general goal was to have them mostly quiet, mostly not kicking anyone’s seat, and in a seatbelt. All screen rules and all treat rules were off the table and it mostly worked. People often looked horrified when we got on the plane but lots of travellers have complimented our kids on their flying skills. And they love flight and tween and teen.

  5. Thanks for the tips! We did Perth – London (17 hours direct!!!!) with a 16 month old. We bought an extra seat for her and brought her car seat and it was a game changer.

    We also brought an item called a cozigo – it’s a blackout cover you put over the seat, essentially cocooning them in darkness. IT. WAS. AMAZING. She slept most of the flight. So much so, a few people where shocked when we landed and produced a baby……like where did she come from!

    Glad you got to see family……you must have been thrilled xxxx

  6. For any new first time moms traveling (we flew when my baby was 6 weeks, so thinking parents who are in a similar boat) practice breaking down all of your equipment and putting it in the necessary travel bags for gate check (looking at you bulky stroller), before you get to the airport!! We had our uppa baby cruz and it was helpful that we had the process to get it broken down and wheels off for the travel bag so we weren’t fumbling with it in the security line or at the gate. Also, packing cubes! One for sleep-related items, one for feeding-related items, etc. And just keep repeating that it’s not always easy but it’s always worth it!

  7. While we didn’t book our 20 month a separate seat (we don’t have a 2nd, so it was easier to take turns with her. definitely would’ve gone your route with a separate seat!), we upgraded to Delta’s Comfort+ so we had the extra leg room. That was a game changer for us because it gave us more room to maneuver and was cheaper than a third ticket. Snacks on snacks on snacks were great, and she LOVED standing on our laps to play with the touchscreens on the back of the seat! Bless you for flying with 2 under 2!

  8. How wonderful you finally got to see Grandy! You gave great tips, I’m just here to add that one thing that worked very well for my kids (ages 3 and 6 years old) during takeoff and landing were lollipops. Like drinking, the suction also helps with the ears, plus it entertains them for a while. There are great sugar free options but if not, it’s just that one time! Congratulations, you have a beautiful family!

  9. Thanks! I bought that baby carrier. The reviews looked great. I have two other carriers at home, but they’re useless because I can’t get them on or off without help. This is going to change my weekends. Definitely agree about buying a seat for a toddler. I did that on a four-hour flight when my son was a year old. It gave him comfortable space to sleep and play. Seats in coach are already cramped for one person.